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Titus packing up shop at AHS

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After 43 years of making his students’ wheels turn, Ashland High School’s Mike Titus is officially leaving shop class behind.

He began his career at AHS in automotive technology, mechanical drawing and architecture, teaching several generations of Ashlanders.

“Honestly, If it wasn’t for Titus, I don’t think I would have the drive to graduate,” said Jeremiah Svaren, hunched over, finding the right tool to remove a hub cap from his GMC Suburban. “I love him, everybody does.”

Technically, Titus has been retired from the school district since 2000, but he comes back to teach metal and auto shop students every other day of the week, as a part-time instructor at AHS.

Svaren, an 18-year-old senior, signed up for Titus’ metal fabrication class after struggling in French as a freshman, he said, and found a passion that he plans to pursue after graduation.

Between 1969 and 2012, a lot has changed in terms of the technology involved with automotive mechanics, said Titus, but teaching the students is relatively the same.

His advanced classes start out similarly, his students said, with about 10 to 15 minutes of sitting at a desk and getting everyone on the same page for the day. Then everyone breaks for the shop.

“All right folks, let’s get to work,” Titus says, clapping his hands together, and the students quickly disperse to a different part of the building.

“Titus!” is a constant plea echoing around the shop during a class, from students needing a hand, or an explanation.

“He’s just really good with every type of student,” said Andres Gutierrez, an 18-year-old senior. “He’ll joke around with us, and take the time to get to know everyone.”

The small parking lot in front of the AHS auto shop’s doors is set to be named “Titus Way” in a 6 p.m. Wednesday ceremony there, when a sign will be posted.

That will just make it official. Former Principal Jeff Schlecht dubbed it that years ago, Titus said, laughing.

“I guess, I’ll miss the contact with the students the most. They’re always the most fun,” said Titus, with folded arms, hanging around as a few students worked in the shop through their lunch breaks.

“And it’s helped kids save some money, get their cars fixed, and I feel safer on the road,” he said, jokingly.

As for post-retirement plans, Titus said he’s planning on a trip to Wyoming this summer to hunt for antelope.

Sam Wheeler is a reporter for the Ashland Daily Tidings. Reach him at 541-499-1470 or email

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